Not real, but spectacular
In honor of Galentine’s Day, the definitive ranking of fake holidays from pop culture
By TRAVIS M. ANDREWS | The Washington Post | Published: February 14, 2020
If anything about this day and age is certain, it’s that people love celebrating fake holidays. National 7-Eleven Day. Fried Chicken Day. Presidents’ Day. (We’ll never believe that one’s real.) But these social media hashtags are mere trifles. Pop culture has brought us a glut of wonderful fake holidays, some that are even celebrated in the real world now -- such as today, Feb. 13: Galentine’s Day. So, decided it was vital to rank them immediately. Obviously.
8. Treat Yo’ Self from ‘Parks and Recreation’
“It’s the best day of the year” was the annual exclamation from Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) and Donna Meagle (Retta). As the former explained, “It’s the one day of the year I allow myself to be selfish.” The roving holiday found the two buying themselves whatever they wanted, be it clothes, massages, fine leather goods or “sushi made from fish previously owned by celebrities.” The price doesn’t matter. The absurdity doesn’t matter. All that does is making yourself happy. We can certainly get behind that!
7. Refrigerator Day from ‘Dinosaurs’
Remember that bizarre series featuring a family of anthropomorphic dinosaurs in which the baby dinosaur yelled “Not the mama!” over and over again? Well, in that show, they celebrate Refrigerator Day, “when dinosaurs celebrate the one invention that made modern civilization possible,” as Grandma Ethyl (Florence Stanley) explained.
They fast for two days “to remind us of the hardships our ancestors faced before cold storage,” dine on mold pie and give each other pails of paint as gifts. Not that far off from our own holidays, when you think about it.
6. Pretzel Day from ‘The Office’
Free soft pretzels in the lobby once a year? What’s not to love? Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) said it better than we can: “I wake up every morning in a bed that’s too small, drive my daughter to a school that’s too expensive and then I go to work to a job for which I get paid too little. But on Pretzel Day? Well, I like Pretzel Day.”
5. Oct. 3 from ‘Mean Girls’
Only one day of the year really matters, the day Aaron Samuels (Jonathan Bennett) asked Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) for the date. No, not on a date, just for the date. It was Oct. 3, and it was so fetch. So now, every Oct. 3, we celebrate Mean Girls Day by wearing pink (even if it’s not Wednesday), writing in our burn books and celebrating Brutus (who is “just as cute as Caesar”). Paramount even got in on the action, releasing a 15th-anniversary Blu-ray edition of the movie last Oct. 3.
4. Unification Day from ‘Firefly’
This holiday, which appears in the show’s pilot, is actually bad. It should not be on this list. Basically, it’s a celebration of the bad guys (the Alliance) taking over the galaxy, which isn’t very fun, and our lead character, Capt. Reynolds (Nathan Fillion) “celebrates” it by getting into bar fights. Not one we actually want to celebrate here in the real word, but “Firefly” is one of the best shows to ever exist and met an untimely end. So ranking it here allows for the opportunity to shout this chorus from the rooftops: BRING BACK “FIREFLY,” YOU COWARDS!
3. Chrismukkah from ‘The OC’
Perfect for anyone in an interfaith household, Chrismukkah takes “the best that Christianity and Judaism have to offer.” It’s the “greatest super-holiday known to mankind,” said its creator, Seth Cohen (Adam Brody). So there’s “eight days of presents followed by one day of many presents.” There’s a Christmas tree and a Hanukkah menorah, and you celebrate by eating Chinese food and watching old movies at home and wearing little Santa-hat yarmulkes.
Like so many other holidays here, major corporations began using it to make a few bucks, including Warner Bros., which created greeting cards and T-shirts celebrating Chrismukkah. But we know the truth: All you need is some delivery moo shu chicken and a DVD of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The best part is you don’t have to be Jewish or Christian to celebrate it!
2. Galentine’s Day from ‘Parks and Recreation’
This show had really good holidays. Yes, Galentine’s Day, created by Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), is a day exclusively for women. Specifically it’s the day when she and her female friends leave their husbands or boyfriends or empty houses to have breakfast together and celebrate one another. “It’s only the best day of the year. ... Ladies celebrating ladies — it’s like Lilith Fair minus the angst,” as she put it.
A righteous rejection of a Catholic invention turned corporate holiday that became such a pop-culture flash point that multiple companies have special deals to celebrate it? Now, that’s pretty special. Anyway, who doesn’t love breakfast food?
1. Festivus (for the rest of us) from ‘Seinfeld’
If the purpose of a holiday is to bring people together, what could be better than Festivus? Invented by George Costanza’s father, Frank (Jerry Stiller), this holiday, which falls on Dec. 23, is the perfect Christmas replacement. It requires no decoration other than a metal pole. (“I find tinsel distracting,” Frank explained.) It begins with the family gathering around a table and you telling them “all the ways they have disappointed you over the years,” in the annual Airing of Grievances. After dinner comes the Feats of Strength, in which a child must wrestle his or her father.
Probably no fake holiday has more deeply permeated culture. Some people actually prop up a metal pole in their homes, including former Wisconsin governor Jim Doyle. Former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick superstitiously began using the word “Festivus” in place of “playoffs” to avoid jinxing the team. Punk band Titus Andronicus titled its first record “The Airing of Grievances,” and rapper Wale released a mix tape titled “Festivus.” This list could go on and on. It makes sense, though. After all, this is the one holiday for the rest of us.